What does it mean when hundreds of thousands of one’s photos appear in articles, essays and posts all over the Web—and one hasn’t been paid for them?

In my case, it means they’ve all proven useful. …

Earth is 4.54 billion years old. It was born 9.247 years after the Big Bang, which happened 13.787 billion years ago. Meaning that our planet is a third the age of the Universe.

Earth’s own role as a life-supporting planet began maybe 3 billion years ago. Nobody knows exactly, but…

Nearly all the people in this photo are using a mobile phone. These people are not the same as they were before those devices extended their minds and bodies in the digital world no less than they do in this subway car.

“We shape our tools and then our tools shape us,” wrote Father John Culkin, SJ, a Professor of Communication at Fordham and a colleague of Marshall McLuhan, whose magnum opus was Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man.

So: who — or what — are we, now that we are extended…

Privacy regulations are good, but without a clear understanding of them, plus enforcement, they can actually make things worse—especially if they start with the assumption that your privacy exists only as a grace only of other parties, and most of those parties are incentivized to violate it.

Exhibit A for…

Journalism as we knew it is washing away. But the story is bigger than journalism alone, and bigger than a story alone can tell. (Image borrowed from the brilliant Despair.com.)

We who care about journalism are asked to join the Save Journalism Project, and its fight against Big Tech. Their pitch begins,

The following lives in continuous draft form at the ProjectVRM wiki. Improvements are welcome. (Details in the Call to Action at the bottom.)

Doors and locks are privacy tech. So are clothes. We have nothing of the sort yet online. And laws alone won’t produce them. We need the tech first, then the norms that arise from use of that tech. The best laws will follow both—or, if they happen first, encourage development of both.


The purpose of this manifesto is to encourage and guide development of tools that enhance and extend people’s ability to protect and project their privacy in the…

Don’t think about what’s wrong on the Web. Think about what pays for it. Better yet, look at it.

Start by installing Privacy Badger in your browser. Then look at what it tells you about every site you visit. With very few exceptions† (e.g. Internet Archive and Wikipedia), all are…

By telling the story of The Spinner’s outrageous business, journalists miss the story of their own outrageous business model. Exposing that miss is The Spinner’s hack.

The Spinner* (with the asterisk, which I’ll henceforth drop) is “a service that enables you to subconsciously influence a specific person, by controlling the content on the websites he or she usually visits.” Meaning you can hire The Spinner to manipulate another person. It works like this:

  1. You pay The…

The Aspen Institute just published a 180-page report by the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy titled (in all caps) CRISIS IN DEMOCRACY: RENEWING TRUST IN AMERICA. Its Call to Action concludes with the that screen-grab above.

This is good. Real good. Having Aspen and Knight endorse personal sovereignty…

Doc Searls

Author of The Intention Economy, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Fellow of CITS at UCSB, alumnus Fellow of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.

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